Positive finish for Milwaukee Aprilia in tough Race 2 at Assen
TT Circuit Assen, 30 April, 2017
Milwaukee Aprilia recorded another points finish with Eugene Laverty in Race 2 at Assen, but suffered an unfortunate crash for Lorenzo Savadori
With the riders starting on the first and second rows for the final race of the weekend, hopes were high for a strong result from Lorenzo and Eugene following their best results of the year in Race 1. A rapid getaway for Eugene saw him move from fifth to second place on the first lap, before he moved past polesitter Xavi Fores to take the lead of the race by lap two. Teammate Lorenzo, starting second, had a slower getaway and was caught up in a battle with the Ducatis of Davies and Melandri.
Eugene was then engaged in a fight for the lead with the Kawasakis of Rea and Sykes, and put up a strong defence against them. Lorenzo, having dropped to eighth, began a charge on lap seven and fought past Fores to take sixth place behind his teammate Eugene. His pace was consistent, but an unfortunate crash at the fast turn seven on lap 11 put an end to his attack and forced him to retire.
As he managed his front tyre wear Eugene began slipping backwards, racing with the Yamahas of Van der Mark and Lowes before he ultimately came home in a respectable eighth place with eight points.
The team now head to the famed Imola circuit in Italy for Round 5 of the 2017 WorldSBK championship in two weeks' time, where they will target further gains and finished in the big points positions.
Shaun Muir, Team Principal
Qualifying was very strong for us, and starting from the front and second rows was great for the team, the sponsors and of course the riders. In Race 1 we had a real challenge, as we have lots new settings and not much time to try race simulations in practice. Tyre wear was an unknown for us and it showed with Eugene, whose front was destroyed at the end of the race. Lorenzo had similar issues but did really well to earn his fifth place.
Sunday was a mixed bag, although we had great starting positions on the first and second rows. Lorenzo got into a nice rhythm and fought past Fores, but he pushed a little too hard and lost the front, which put him out of the race unfortunately. Eugene finishing eighth wasn't quite what we'd hoped for starting fifth. But, we did get a lot of valuable data on the tyre wear issues he's had, and data that will help us address the bike balance in his case particularly as there is a significant change in bike balance as the fuel load decreases.
Overall we're very happy with the results. Eugene we know was hurt by his tyres, and Lorenzo could have finished in the top six if not for his crash. We have plenty of good data to work with, and the team now goes to Imola feeling positive for Aprilia's home race.
Eugene Laverty #50
Grid: P5 Race: P8, 8 points
The new reverse grid rules helped us today, because it gave us chance to show how quick we are in the early laps of a race. I felt comfortable on the bike and I really went for it, and I had a good scrap with Fores and the Kawasakis at the top.
The problem came after about 10 laps, because the front tyre again was losing grip and performance and I started dropping back. My pace was consistent but for sure we could have finished higher.
This weekend confirmed the areas we need to improve in. We were really strong in some parts but the tyre wear hurt us in others. It’s good for Aprilia to see that we are strong in the first laps, and we will see what Imola brings for us in two weeks.
Lorenzo Savadori #32
Grid: P2 Race: Retired
It was an unlucky race today. It was good to have a front row position to start, and I was on the softer tyre. At the beginning I didn’t push hard, and because of that I started to lose positions.
After 6 laps I started pushing hard but I was losing time fighting with Fores and Melandri. My lap times were getting better when I was past, but unfortunately I crashed at turn 7.
I’m sorry to the team for the result in this race, but I tried my best and it did not work today. Now we go to Imola which is a home race for me, and I really like the track. We have some things to improve on the bike so our pace is better, but I am confident in Milwaukee Aprilia.